No tertiary student follows the same path. Layale is one of WSU Online’s most recent graduates and is using her Bachelor of Social Science (Child and Community) to give back to the community in Western Sydney.
How is she doing so? By volunteering to enhance the safety and security of its most vulnerable populations.
Layale began studying with WSU Online in 2018 after transferring from a teaching degree. Having touched on social issues that were close to her heart in her teaching coursework, Layale saw the opportunity to make a difference for others. It wasn’t long before she chose to pursue a ‘completely different path’ with WSU Online.
“I wanted to thoroughly understand community formations, organisations, child abuse and the micro and macro factors that influence an individual’s upbringing.”
Layale has always had an interest in the development of young children and women’s rights in different cultures. And being a full-time mother with a close connection to her family, learning online was the obvious choice. Completing her degree while raising her own three children was a trial she was both thankful for and resilient in overcoming.
“I completed my degree whilst raising three kids full-time. It was especially difficult when they were off school due to COVID-19, but nonetheless my Online Learning Advisors (OLAs) supported me through it – they were positive that I had it in me to continue.”
Layale has made a head start in supporting the communities around her through volunteer work. Even prior to finishing her course, she began volunteering with RizeUp Australia, an establishment that assists young women escaping domestic violence. More recently, Layale has utilised her knowledge for the benefit of those around her by helping form Stars Youth Refuge, a 24/7 youth refuge for girls aged 12–18. Here she has undertaken a directorial role.
“I’ve always wanted to impact our community and this seemed the most appropriate way to do so … there is currently no refuge in Sydney that caters specifically to teenage girls from CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) backgrounds. This was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
With a ‘fire in [her] belly’ and a passion for helping vulnerable youths, Layale is more than glad she can now produce positive changes for others by putting her knowledge of social work into practice. And Stars Youth Refuge was formed by doing exactly that.
“Joining Stars Youth Refuge would have never been possible had I not had this degree. I, along with my fellow board members, have the ability to directly impact the homelessness crisis that teenage girls face in Western Sydney.”
Layale’s studies were instrumental in paving her current path. Understanding the ‘ins and outs of non-profit organisations’, board structures, management and the value of empathy in sensitive scenarios were vital for Layale’s new role. By forming quality relationships with her OLAs, who were ‘empathetic and supportive beyond the requirements of their roles’, she developed positive networks to support her through her studies.
“The most important thing I was taught was to understand that people are not their experiences. There is no place for judgement, only room for empathy and support.”
Her advice for current students? Become a master at time management. ‘The people who say you can’t do it obviously never had a fridge magnet planner’. Layale also recommends reaching out to your OLAs and connecting with peers to achieve success. This will help drive your studies into your passion.
Has Layale’s story inspired you to pursue your aspirations? View our range of online courses today.